“Here we go a-walking down the street… and STOP” The children enjoyed using the sign language gesture for STOP.
Actually, the act of making the sign almost requires the child stop their movement to make the sign.
STOP – Place flat right hand perpendicular inside flat left palm. (like a chopping ax)
When your child moves and stops his body, he is practicing an important skill. Moving, then stopping, develops a skill called “inhibitory control,” or the ability to stop oneself and wait. This vital life skill builds confidence and self-discipline—a confidence that stems from the awareness that “my body does what I ask it to do.”
LOOK – Point first and second finger of rt. Hand to eyes, then point outward to “look”
LISTEN – Form the letter L with thumb and forefinger, then place thumb to ear.
STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN… “What is that that sound? The children had fun listening and guessing what sound they would hear next when we did stop our walking. This is a fun activity you can do on a walk in your neighborhood or in a park. Sing, then stop, look, and listen, and talk about the sounds you hear, and whether you can see them or not. Your home CD is full of sounds; when they come up while listening to the CD, talk about what the sound is, and where you might find it, then imitate and play around with the sounds.
“Listening and hearing are very different skills. Most of the senses―sight, taste, and smell―involve chemical reactions, but ears work purely in a mechanical way. Hearing is a physical process. Sound waves create vibrations that are transmitted as nerve impulses to the brain. Listening is much more complex, as it includes the mental processes of interpreting and absorbing a message and storing and retrieving information. Hearing is a sense most people are born with, but listening is a learned, mental behavior” Adapted from Early Childhood Experiences in Language Arts 4th edition by J. M. Machado, 1990
The more your children experience the difference between listening and hearing, the more they can develop focused listening skills—or the ability to block out the outside noise and focus in on one noise.
Be aware that an environment that has constant noise, such as music or TV that is on consistently, diminishes a child’s ability to really listen to thinks, and trains their brain to “tune out” the background sounds, making them less aware of the world around them. When listening to music, it is best to play it when you can pay attention to it, sing along with it, talk about it, etc. Or you may play purely instrumental music in the background when doing creative or focused activities, such as art, or homework, or even accompanying dinner conversation. Music actually enhances these processes when it is used with consideration to the activities and attention required.
Of course, coming to Kindermusik on a regular basis gives your family the opportunity to build and practice this listening skill. I’m looking forward to listening to you, and with you, next time in class.